Postpartum Surprises: 10 Ways Pregnancy is Not Done With You Yet

When I had my first child, I remember holding her on my chest while the doctor stitched me up (thank you, oh blessed epidural) and told me, “You are officially no longer pregnant.” I suppose there are a number of ways someone might react to that news. Personally, I breathed a huge sigh of relief, but if pregnancy is your jam, take heart! It’s not really over yet.

postpartum pregnancy

Alright, fine, technically, it is. You are once again the sole inhabitant of your own body. But you’re most certainly not done feeling the effects of the last nine months. You may be done with pregnancy, but it’s not done with you. This one goes out to all you new moms-to-be, especially the first timers. You will soon be enjoying these 10 ways in which pregnancy is the gift that keeps on giving, even after the baby is born.

1. The thirst

My god, the thirst! You may have thought that you’d be done drinking massive amounts of water all day, but keep that Nalgene handy. The first few weeks after I had each of my babies, I would have gulped down Lake Superior, if only someone could have bottled it up for me. Consequently:

2. You still have to pee every 5 minutes.

Not because a bowling ball is sitting on your bladder, but because your body has nine months and one hospital stay’s worth of retained fluids to flush out (ha!). See also:

3. Profuse night sweating.

It’s as sexy as it sounds.

4. Making up for lost {period} time

Hope you enjoyed your menstruation vacation, because you’re about to experience the craziest period-like symptoms of your life. Bring your heating pad to the hospital, because your uterus will not get the memo that those contractions should be over now, thankyouverymuch. Instead, you will have major cramps for a couple of days while it works on shrinking back down to its normal size. Go ahead and stock up on those mesh underwear and jumbo pads that the hospital provides, because you’re going to need them. While you’re at it, throw in some adult diapers, just for fun! (Think of all the cute mother-baby matching opportunities!)

Even if you had a c-section, your uterus has some spring cleaning to do. It’s probably best to just not look down any time you enter the bathroom. Trust me on this one, I wouldn’t lie to you.

postpartum pregnancy

5. Whose boobs are these and why are they trying to kill me?

Breastfeeding may be natural, but that doesn’t make it easy. It hurts, you guys, at least for the first few weeks. Besides the obvious issues that come with a human attempting to eat from your body or hooking yourself up to a machine like a cow, you may also get to pick from the Breastfeeding Troubles Goody Bag! Engorgement, mastitis, and thrush, oh my!

Even if you’re not breastfeeding, you’re still not off the hook. With my second baby, I knew from the start that I would be formula feeding. Even so, it didn’t occur to me that I would still have one nasty bout with engorgement and a month’s supply of nursing pads to get through.

6. Surprise! You still look pregnant.

When packing your hospital bag, you may not really know what to expect your body to look like after your baby is born. Do yourself a favor and pack some comfortable maternity leggings and some tops that you wore in your second trimester. Channel your inner Kate Middleton and just embrace it. You’ll be saying goodbye to your bump soon enough.

7. You will still waddle.

This time, it’s because you either just shot a watermelon from your lady parts or were reassembled on the table like a car at the mechanic. Either way, find someone to do your walking for you and don’t let them leave your side.

8. You will still have back pain.

Have you SEEN what your spine did in order to support that precious ball of bones you hauled around? Now it’s time for it to follow its Oregon Trail back to where it started, and let’s just say it’s gonna take more than a few oxen to ford that river. If you had an epidural, the pain may migrate down further into your lower pack or pelvis, and it may stick around for weeks. You may have to trade in your babywearing dreams for a nice back brace for a bit, so prepare yourself for that possibility.

9. Wiggly Baby

You can still feel all those little kicks and rolls, only this time, they’re on the outside. Fetal movements are probably the most intimate moments of bonding for a pregnant mom, and it is always so fun to finally see what kind of acrobatics your little one was doing in your body hotel. During my pregnancies, my older daughter would slide her foot from side to side, and my younger daughter always rolled her shoulder in a circular motion, which scraped her elbow around in a circle along my stomach. It was so fun to see them still doing these things once they were out, and it helped me feel like I already knew them just a little bit.

10. Still no sleep

You still can’t sleep at night, but now you have a delicious little cuddle buddy whose head smells divine to keep you company. Breathe it in, and know that your days (and nights) won’t always be this physically demanding. Pregnancy and parenting may not be easy, but they are definitely worth it!
March 2012


Kristin Flanary
Kristin met her husband in college at Texas Tech University, and they later moved to New Hampshire, where they earned his-and-hers advanced degrees (complete with matching towels) at Dartmouth. They had their first date on Valentine's Day, got engaged on Valentine's Day three years later, welcomed their first daughter (Charlotte) on Valentine's Day three years after that, and their second daughter (Claire) on Valentine's Day three years after that! Kristin and her family moved to Iowa City in 2014 so her husband could begin his residency at UIHC. She is currently laugh-crying her way through raising a threenager and an infant while simultaneously working full-time at the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development and juggling the crazy schedule of a resident's wife. Kristin has been a stay-at-home mom, a work-at-home mom, and work-outside-the-home mom, so she can officially judge that each scenario is hard and equally wonderful. In her free time, you can find Kristin either taking pictures and learning about photography, reading about how not to screw up her daughters, on her soapbox about women's rights, enjoying a hard-earned glass of wine, or collapsed from exhaustion. Her life is ridiculous and her heart is full.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.